Here’s How To Do Paris On $75 A Day
Don’t believe the hyped-up haters. It is completely possible to visit Paris on a budget.
You won’t be dining at Michelin-starred eateries, staying at the Ritz or taking a private tour of the Louvre, but we’d argue you’ll see a richer picture of the City of Lights while staying frugal. Here’s where to stay, eat and sightsee for just $75 a day.
Where To Stay: $30 to $40
Public transport-lovers, you’ll do just fine in Paris. If you’re not limited to a radius directly surrounding the main tourist haunts, you’ll get a better deal and get to call a cooler neighborhood home for the duration of your trip. For hostels, we’re big fans of St. Christopher’s Inn Paris Canal (because of it’s Canal St. Martin location) and The Loft (for its Belleville address).
Where To Eat: $15 to $25
We hope you really like croissants and sandwiches because the best way to save money in Paris is to really embrace the boulangeries (bakeries) and cafes. An expensive croissant in Paris is $3.50, and it’s definitely possible to find them for less. For lunch, pick up a Parisien sandwich at any neighborhood cafe. The simplest version is literally just butter and ham on a baguette. It’s delicious, cheap and a classic (we’ll estimate $5).
Let’s say you also grab an espresso somewhere along your day, leaving you with $15 for dinner. At Chartier, you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetic for price. While you likely won’t eat the best steak frittes of your life, you will only pay $15 in a mirrored Belle Epoche dining room. Want quality? Leave the tourist streets for the local arrondissements and pop into small brasseries.
Want to cheat the system and save a little extra for a nicer dinner one night? The award-winning baguette at Brun Boulangerie Patisserie costs $1.30 (truly) and you can get enough cheese and meat for a DIY all-you-can-eat charcuterie plate for less than $10. Split it with some travel friends and you’re practically dining anywhere you’d like for your splurge meal.
What To See: $10 to $20
The Louvre is pricey ($18), so to pay for admission here, you’ll need to forego restaurants for grocery store food for a day to stay on budget. However, the museum is enormous – easily enough to be an entire day’s worth of activities. Tickets to other museums can be purchased together. We suggest buying a joint ticket to Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie for $19.
Controversial take: Don’t bother paying to go up the Eiffel Tower. The view is better from free vantage points throughout the city, such as the steps of the Sacre Coeur.
What Is Free
While lodging is more expensive in Paris during the warmer months, you’ll make up the difference in the number of free activities available during the summer. Besides strolling through some of the world’s best parks (our favorite three: Jardin des Tuileries, Promenade plantée, and Parc de Belleville), the streets of Paris are made for getting lost. Pick a new arrondissement every day and wander.
While your budget might feel extraordinarily restrictive, you’ll still want to fit in some window shopping in Le Marais. Call souvenirs your activity budget of the day and you can find some amazing gems in the boutiques in Montmartre.
Paris Plages takes over the banks of the Seine during the summer, making the concrete-walled river into a beach resort. There’s even beach volleyball and sprinklers to cool you down – you can’t actually swim in the river. The Riviera is a short train ride away if you want the true French coast experience.
Emulate the literary greats of the 1920s with a visit to Shakespeare and Company bookstore. The narrow creaking stairs lead to a charming antique library and reading room, where you can sit in on poetry workshops, tea parties and book readings. Good luck leaving without a book; we’ve never been able to manage it.
The crown jewel of Parisian free activities is an Eiffel Tower picnic. Bring a bottle of wine, baguette and some cheese, watch the sun set behind the city’s iconic landmark and toast as the nightly sparkling light show begins.